Movie review: “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a vigilante comedy for our age

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:55:05 AM. For an avatar of our current cultural appetite for accountability, truth-telling and radical moral reckoning, we couldn’t possibly do better than Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother seeking just…
Three stars. Rated R. 115 minutes. For an avatar of our current cultural appetite for accountability, truth-telling and radical moral reckoning, we couldn’t possibly do better than Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother seeking justice and closure in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Portrayed by Frances McDormand in a performance as ferocious and uncompromising as any of her career, Mildred turns out to be an alternately off-putting and deeply sympathetic guide through the world that writer-director Martin McDonagh creates. His movie fuses naturalism and hysterically pitched theatricality with sometimes uneasy, but bracing results. McDonagh, known for such operatically profane, extravagantly brutal exercises as “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths,” doesn’t stint on his signature flourishes: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is as dark as they come, a pitch-black, often laceratingly funny look at human nature at its most nasty, brutish and dimwitted. But he anneals the cleansing fire with moments of startling tenderness, using compassion to shock viewers the way other directors wield the dark arts of sex and violence. Merrick Morton, Fox Searchlight PicturesFrances McDormand plays an angry, grieving mother in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” As the movie opens, Mildred has not yet recovered from the sadistic rape and murder of her teenage daughter Angela, a crime that occurred seven months ago in the small Ozark mountain town of Ebbing. Spying three...Read more
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